BHM GSec - Utkarsh Kumar Choudhary
Updated: Sep 16, 2021
When we hear or talk about BHM, we almost immediately think of an offline environment. But it’s not the case so presently. BHM had to undergo a rocky transition into the online mode, disrupting the usual activities of the board. How was this transition?
When I was on campus, that is, before the fourth semester when the lockdown kicked in, I had the duties of a BHM Representative. So back then, our work mostly revolved around the different maintenance aspects of the hostels (like our name suggests), like going to the caretaker’s office and sorting out stuff, making sure the night mess was functioning properly, and the like.
Then, as we know, the lockdown occurred. It was a sudden disruption. Now, first of all, I will concede the fact that the workload we had in the offline semesters was more than anything we’ve encountered so far online. All the little issues that we encountered everyday, like electricity usage and all were no more. But then, they were replaced with larger, more significant issues, like putting in sanitisers and foot pedals. We also had to cater towards the COVID-specific problems and beyond for the PG student community staying back on campus.
You tell how the very spectrum of your work changed in the transition. But now that a significant amount of students have onboarded and more are still onboarding, its highly likely that the workload of BHM will increase, as you’ll have to manage the regular offline duties with the COVID-necessitated ones. What are your plans for the same?
My tenure is somewhat of a hybrid - the current odd semester underway is a mixture of online and offline, and the next one will be offline. Hopefully.
Right now, yes, many students have onboarded. We are conducting frequent hostel checks, and doing our utmost to ensure that all the precautions are being properly followed. Going forward, we will continue the same, increasing the number of surprise inspections of the hostels. But in the end, no matter what we do, it’s up to the students themselves to follow all the COVID-necessitated norms we’ve set up.
Other than that, it will be a smooth transition back to the offline situation.
Is there any specific experience that you’d like to narrate?
When the pandemic hit, the administration wanted a representative video of the precautions and preventions taking place in regards to the COVID-19 situation. We were chosen for it - I was from Udaigiri hostel - and we made that video, showing all the newly installed utilities like automatic sanitisers and foot pedals, and we made that entire video. So, that was a memorable incident.
Is there anything you didn’t like in your experience so far with BHM, and now as the GSec, you would like to change?
Not per se anything I would like to change, but I’m very excited about an introduction to BHM not present so far. Since the last semester, BHM has started to give details about the mess fees - we’ve explained the breakdown in very simple terms. Going ahead, we plan to do the same with the hostel fees. There’s this layer of secrecy with the ongoings of BHM, and I’d like to bring transparency to the process, and this will be a key step towards that.
Another new thing is the introduction of the Deputy GSec post, which will complement my post, so that is also something that was very much needed that will happen in my tenure.
In your manifesto, you have mentioned the plans to introduce an online portal for BHM, in similar veins of BSA and BRCA. The last GSec also mentioned this in his manifesto but wasn’t able to do so. How will you ensure the online portal is set up this time?
I don’t have an exact idea what went wrong last time - I wasn’t involved in the plans. But this time, I can ensure that the online portal is set up. The work has been divided between the BHM Reps and the online portal will be set up. The online portal will take back valuable feedback and we will take all the feedback to the BHM meetings to the administration, and work on them.
The aesthetics of the hostels have deteriorated since the lockdown started and the hostels emptied. What are the plans for the beautification?
So, what we have decided is that we will team up with the design departments, and we will plan on the hows and whats of the changes with them. We will get the help of the cultural clubs, and then decide on the changes and implement them.
What attracted you towards BHM, rather than the other boards and clubs?
I was always interested in the administrative side of things. Like even in school, as far as I can remember, I was that kid who wanted to be in all sorts of administrative activities - I was the Head Boy and held a lot of the leadership roles.
Due to this reason, the board or club which excited me the most was BHM. BHM was in its infancy back then and I was part of the first BHM Rep team. It was exactly the kind of administrative thing I love, so BHM was an easy fit for me.
Have you got any funny stories to tell us from your tenure - either as BHM Rep, or Maintainance Secy, or from your GSec tenure so far?
Well, I do have a lot of funny stories. Even these past two months as a GSec has been quite eventful in terms of funny incidents. But then I would have to take names - I’d rather play diplomatic and not say anything.
You can find his manifesto here
Interview by: Shrijit Shaswat